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Turning of Papatuanuku Introduction

This korero is about the sorrow of Ranginui and Papatuanuku and what the rain symbolises.

Turning of Papatuanuku

Up to the present time Ranginui, the Sky, has remained separate from his wife, the Earth. But their love has never diminished, and Ranginui at the beginning shed an immense quantity of tears. So great was this weeping that much of the land that had been dry was covered by the sea, and there were countries underneath where a strange people lived who could not endure the sun; if they felt its rays they died.

At length, lest all the land be lost, a party of the other children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku resolved to turn their mother over, so that she and Ranginui should not be always seeing one another´s grief and grieving more. This was done and is called Te Hurihanga a Mataaho, the Overturning of Mataaho, after the child who saw to its being done. In consequence of this, Ranginui tears are less copious than they formerly were, when all the world was flooded. They are now the dew drops that form in the night on Papatuanuku back. The morning mists, that form in the valleys, are her sighs.

When Papatuanuku was turned over by Mataaho, Ruaumoko was still at her breast, and he remained there and was carried to the world below. To keep him warm there he was given fire. He is the guardian of earthquakes, and the rumblings that disturb this land are made by him as he walks about.

From the time of the separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku clear light increased upon the earth, and all the beings that had been hidden in the dark now multiplied and spread, and the descendants of Tanemahuta and Hinetitama became the generations of men, and man increased and multiplied, and death did not have power over him until was reached the generation of Maui Tikitiki a Taranga and his brothers.

This is the narrative about the generations of the ancestors of men from the beginning of the Po, and therefore we, the people of this land, carefully preserved these traditions of old times as a thing to be taught to the generations that come after us. So we repeat them in our karakia and whenever we relate the deeds of the ancestors from whom each iwi and family is descended, and on other similar occasions.


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